Monday, March 23, 2015

Toll Free Day at the Texas Capitol

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

Toll Free Texas held their lobby day today at the Capitol.  The coalition is led by Texans United for Reform and Freedom and encompasses grassroots groups from around the state.  Toll Free Texas seeks to roll back toll roads, eliminate waste in transportation spending, and restore transportation spending to a pay-as-you-go basis.

The event was notable for the changes it reveals in the 84th legislature compared to the 83rd.  Senators Don Huffines and Lois Kolhorst, neither of who was in their current position last session, were featured prominently.  On the house side, every representative who spoke had voted for Scott Turner at the beginning of the session.  House leadership was conspicuous in their absence.  Given the unpopularity of toll roads in this state, it would not surprise use to see House leadership boxed in on this issue.

According to organizers, this session is the first of the five they've been active that good bills outnumber bad bills (and that by 3:1 margin).

Cathie Adams (Texas Eagle Forum):

  • In the past, Texas used to make toll roads free after their construction costs were paid off.
  • Public/Private "partnerships" are a grotesque form of cronyism.

  • No eminent domain for toll roads.
  • Go back to pay-as-you-go.
  • End Public/Private "Partnerships"

  • Roads a fundamental function of government.
  • No double taxation.

  • "My district is surrounded by toll roads."
  • Collin County reps committed to getting rid of tolls.
    • Author's Note: Then where the heck was Jodie Laubenberg?!?

  • "A number of my friends are paying more in toll fees than in city taxes."
  • "H.O.V lanes are a social experiment that has failed."

  • Texas needs to put an end to toll roads.
  • Once debt is paid off, tolls are removed.

  • Need proper funding for toll free roads
  • Supports toll-free Texas.

  • Tea Party really began with fight against trans-Texas corridor.
  • Transportation is a tough issue.
  • 5000 to 9000 entities in this state have eminent domain authority.
  • People are paying more in tolls than utilities in Texas.
  • SB 1601 -- Restricts ability to use eminent domain for high speed rail.
  • "We have waste at TxDOT and we're working on that."

  • SB 5 covers ending diversions.
  • Make tollways send annual statements.
  • People on mobility authorities should be elected.
  • Transparency, transparency, transparency....
  • We should have a statewide policy for state highways.


  • Filed 11 bills on this topic
  • "It is a new day."
  • They want to toll every highway in DFW.
  • Traffic is a natural consequence of population growth.
  • Transportation should be 35% of the budget, currently 8%.
    • Author's Note: See here
  • Roads are a fundamental function of government.
  • Filed a bill to end diversions.
  • "No one in this building is talking about fully funding TxDOT."
  • There's a lot of money to be saved by simple actions.

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